I don't think that I will do my usual collection of year in review posts. However, I did read some really great books in 2015. I attribute this to the people I follow on Goodreads who have rather excellent tastes when it comes to books. I let them do the hard part of sorting through the chaff, and then I glean from their efforts. I read 59 books this year. I thought this unexpectedly high since I didn't read /listen to any books during the month of November and most of December.
Bread and Wine: This was such great writing. It was a beautiful mixture of food and faith. The faith portion was very inclusive and not super preachy or crazy Jesus-lover like. She hit the perfect tone. I need to read her other books now. She is much more of an extrovert than I, so I found her descriptions of her gatherings a bit anxiety-inducing.
Better than Before: I read a number of reviews saying, "I didn't think I liked this book so much but I couldn't stop thinking/talking about it," and I think I fall under that category. The sections regarding how you make habits and why are so eye-opening and thought-altering that it is worth reading. It really helps a person figure out how to successfully make and keep habits by looking at their personality.
All Joy and No Fun: A very candid look at parenting. Everyone thinking of having kids should read this, because this is a very accurate description of what your life is going to look like for the rest of your life.
A Girl Named Zippy: First of all, do not be put off by the cover. I say this, because I sort of cringe every time I look at it. This book? This is how I want to write about my life. The likelihood that I will live a very thrilling life? Is not very high. Yet, I think most people's story could be interesting if written well enough. This book was so relatable. I want to remember my funny stories and write about them in a way that other people can enjoy them as well.
Boys Adrift: Another eye-opening read about the challenges facing boys in today's society. It looks at a gamut of topics: leadership, sports, video games, ADHD drugs, etc. While I question some of his ideas, I have to admit that he has a lot of experience to glean from. If you have sons, definitely check this out.
Daring Greatly: There were some repetitive parts in this book, but man, I could not stop talking about it. So many important concepts here regarding shaming, whole heartedness, courage, etc.
MotherStyles: I have made a number of my friends check out this book. I wasn't really interested in Myer-Briggs/Personality tests previously but this book changed my mind. It provided a mental framework to explain differences, especially among mothers. I am less inclined to beat myself up because I am not a certain way. I can recognize that each person is really playing to their strengths. Also, the book clarified the personality differences between Mr. F. and myself.
Ready Player One: I came late to the Ready Player One fan club. This was the book of the year last year, but it deserves all the accolades. This was just so awesome in it's geekiness.
The Invention of Wings: Sometimes, I am hesitant to read a story regarding slavery and race relations. It just seems so serious and heavy of a topic, and can the story be anything but depressing? However, this book is very well written: finding a nice balance between the difficulties of slavery and gender roles with a hope and a future for the two main characters. There is also some nice comparison and contrast between the two women's voices. They trials could be considered similar, yet also vastly different: Sarah, while hindered by her gender, will never know what it is like to be a slave. Well worth a read.
The Snow Child: Another beautifully written novel. Having spent time in an Eastern European country, I am well familiar with the fairy-tale of the Snow Maiden. The story fit in so well with the imagery of the Alaskan wilderness. It took me forever to read, but this should not be a reflection on the book itself.
All The Light We Cannot See: Another wonderful book, well worth the hype that it has been receiving.
Gravity vs. the Girl: An innovated twist on a "chick lit" book. A woman quits her high-power law firm job, has a bit of a breakdown, and is haunted by versions of her former self: young child, teenager, college student, professional. She has to put her life back together and put to rest each of these versions of herself. It is well written not to mention it struck a chord, because don't we all sort of wonder, "where is that person who used to love (fill in the blank)" or something similar? Picked up a cheap electronic version on Amazon.
A Desperate Fortune: 2015 is the year I discovered Susanna Kearsley. She writes historical fiction with some clean romance and sometimes, depending on the book, a suspense plot line thrown in. Think Mary Stewart. Have absolutely loved plowing through all of her books. This was one of my favorites. A number of her books use a paranormal twist to tap into the historical portion of the book (ability to read minds, second sight, etc.) This one used a good old fashioned plot device called: a diary from the past.
The Last Dragonslayer: This is just fun, quirky, fantasy. I have to mention that on a Jasper Fford sliding scale of quirkiness, this is mild which is why I enjoyed it so much. The other books in the series were also great.
The Martian: Has there been a person who read this and didn't like it? If so, I haven't heard about it. A bit heavy at times on the science, but man, who cares? Because that is also what makes the book so great! You really get a sense that this could happen. A person could go to mars! He could get left behind and still survive by composting his own poop and growing potatoes! Go out and read it.